French flooding: German missing after hundreds evacuated from campsites

French rescuers are still searching for an elderly German man who went missing after floodwaters ripped through a campsite in southern France on Thursday.

The man, who is believed to be in his 70s, was helping supervise over 119 German children and youths who were camping in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas. The area is located in the Gard region, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Avignon.

Rescuers believe the man sought shelter in his camper when fast-flowing water burst the banks of the nearby L'Ardeche River, but the vehicle was swept away.

The heavily damaged camper was found near the river, but the man was not inside. The search for the missing man is due to resume on Friday.

The French Interior Ministry said 1,600 people were evacuated from the region, including 750 people from five campsites.

Four of the rescued German children were taken to the hospital suffering from hypothermia, officials said. All in the group, who are from the city of Leverkusen, are all accounted for and safe.

A total of 10 people in the region were hospitalized for minor injuries due to the flash floods.

Massive rescue

After weeks of dry and hot conditions, recent torrential downpours quickly swelled the Ceze and L'Ardeche rivers in the Gard region.

Muddy water swept through the region, taking many foreign tourists and other vacationers by surprise.

Hundreds of firefighters and police took part in the rescue operations, using helicopters to help spot affected campsites and carry out some people.

rs/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)